CALS New Hires-January 2024

Carly Bass, Grazing Technician, Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Carly BassCarly Bass is the new grazing specialist within the Champlain Valley Crop, Soil, and Pasture Team and the Center for Sustainable Agriculture. She is based at the UVM Extension Middlebury office, and will provide technical assistance, outreach, and education to farmers in Addison County and southward into Southern Vermont.

Bass has always been passionate about animals but did not get a lot of exposure to agriculture growing up in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. She began horseback riding at an early age as a way to interact with animals every day.

She took her passion for horses to the University of New Hampshire, where she received a bachelor of science degree in animal science and began working on farms with various livestock including sheep, dairy cows, and chickens. After graduating, she had the opportunity to work on a dairy farm in Ireland to assist in calving and rotational grazing.

Bass received a master’s degree in animal science from Cornell University, where she discovered her passion for protecting water quality through nutrient management and other sustainable practices. During her free time, Bass likes to go hiking and camping with her dog and go swimming.

Leo Ruiz, Community Health Worker, Extension Bridges to Health Program

Leo RuizLeo Ruiz is a community health worker for Bridges to Health in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. In this role, Ruiz assists migrant workers and their families to connect them with medical and dental services and related paperwork. He began working with Extension in December, 2023.

Ruiz was born and raised in Cordoba, Veracruz in Mexico. He moved to Vermont in 2021 and really likes living here. He loves eating and cooking, outdoor activities, sports, videogames and traveling.

Prior to this role, Ruiz was working in the food industry where he had a chance to meet a lot of international people from different cultures. He is excited to be working with Bridges to Health because it is a good way to help others.

Maddox Gabriel Wilson, Northeast Kingdom Regional Coordinator, Migrant Health & Education

Maddox, Gabriel Wilson holding a colorful orange and brown sunflower.Wilson lives in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) and has worked all over the region in a wide variety of settings including farms, schools, local organizations and more. She grew up out west in Colorado and Utah but has found home and community in the NEK.

Wilson enjoys meeting people, hearing their stories, running around in the woods and learning about traditions and ways of life around the world. She is excited to connect deeper with farms and migrant workers in the NEK in this new role.

Jascha Pick, Grazing Program Coordinator/Specialist, Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Jascha Pick is holding his white and furry dog next to him.Jascha Pick  brings extensive grazing experience to UVM Extension, which includes operating and expanding his own grazing operation in Danville, Vermont for 14 years. He has also worked on numerous other diversified farms in Vermont.

Pick holds a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture from Sterling College, and currently serves on the board of the Vermont Grass Farmers Association.

In his role with UVM Extension, he will coordinate grazing programming across the organization, and provide technical assistance to pasture-based farmers in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and beyond. Pick will be based in Extension’s St. Johnsbury office.

Emma Tracy, Postdoctoral Associate, Community Development and Applied Economics

Emma TracyEmma Tracy is a plant scientist who is passionate about the intersection of crop genetic improvement and consumer needs/end use quality.

She is joining Dr. Anaka Aiyar’s team in Community Development and Applied Economics, and the Food Systems Research Center to investigate the sustainability of plant-based protein production in the Northeast.

Prior to UVM, Tracy was an Extension specialist in plant pathology and 4-H at Montana State University, and worked as a postdoctoral associate focused on computational biology at Cornell University.

She is excited to be joining such a diverse and collaborative team and looks forward to exploring Vermont.

Sam Bliss, Postdoctoral Associate, Nutrition and Food Sciences

Sam BlissSam Bliss is a postdoctoral fellow in nutrition and food sciences. In this role, he is teaching ecological economics in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department, and continuing his research on how home and wild food production interact with food security in Vermont and Maine.

Bliss was formerly a graduate assistant in Community Development and Applied Economics and the Rubenstein School for the Environment.

Sam also co-organizes Food Not Bombs Burlington and co-fronts local folk-punk band Marxist Jargon.

More New Hires

Amy Finley, Lecturer, Nutrition and Food Sciences (formerly a graduate assistant in the UVM Graduate College).

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